Fighting Fifth Hurdle tips and odds: Path clear for Champion Hurdle winner Epatante

Buveur D'Air wins the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle

The first Grade 1 race of the season for the hurdlers, the Fighting Fifth Hurdle is one of the key races for the two-mile division. Won by the likes of Harchibald, Punjabi, Overturn, Countrywide Flame, My Tent Or Ours and Buveur d’Air since the turn of the century, it’s usually taken by a leading Champion Hurdle contender.

Missing the race due to an unsatisfactory scope, Goshen looks to have left the path clear for Epatante. Last year’s Champion Hurlde winner will look to get her season off to the perfect start, as she starts the road towards her title defence.

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Fighting Fifth Hurdle Entries

Epatante

Unbeaten in three starts last term, winning a Listed handicap at Newbury prior to a victory in the Christmas Hurdle. Well-backed for the Champion Hurdle and justified favouritism with a dominant victory. She’s clear on ratings and receives seven pounds from all her rivals.

Sceau Royal

Better known for his chasing exploits of late, placed at Grade 1 level in 2019. Has switched back to hurdling in two starts this season, winning the Welsh Champion Hurdle prior to easily landing the Grade 2 Elite Hurdle at Wincanton. Looks better than ever and is impossible to dismiss.

Silver Streak

Has fallen short of the top level so far in his career, with his marquee victories coming at Listed level. Five lengths behind Epatante in last year’s Christmas Hurdle and no match for her in the Champion Hurdle either. Posted a career-best to win a Listed event at Kempton last time and will have his ideal conditions, but has something to find with Epatante on previous meetings.

Cornerstone Lad

Caused a 16/1 surprise when defeating Buveur D’Air to win this race twelve months ago. Only third in the Grade 2 Champion Hurdle Trial at Haydock subsequently and pulled up in the Champion Hurdle thereafter. Fit from two runs on the flat this autumn and is unbeaten in two starts at Newcastle.


Fighting Fifth Hurdle Tips and Odds

After a flawless campaign last time around, it’s very difficult to oppose EPATANTE in this contest. She was in a league of her own in the two-mile division last term and despite doubts surrounding her credentials after easily winning the Christmas Hurdle, they were readily silenced at Cheltenham.

Her record after breaks of 100 days or more reads 1111 and she sets the standard on ratings in this field. Receiving seven pounds from her rivals, it would be a surprise if she was unable to past her first test this season.


Fighting Fifth Hurdle Stats

  • 4 of the last 5 winners were rated 154 or higher
  • 2 of the last 5 winners had run that season
  • 1 of the last 5 winners were sent off favourite
  • Nicky Henderson is the winning most trainer in the race, with 5 so far

It typically takes a classy sort to win the Fighting Fifth and with recent winners all being rated in the mid 150s or higher, Ribble Valley, Not So Sleepy and Voix Du Reve all have big tasks on that basis.

Although favourites don’t have the best record in the contest, Nicky Henderson does, which will give a huge boost to the chances of Epatante.


Fighting Fifth Hurdle Winners

Cornerstone Lad won this in 2019 and will be hoping to repeat the feat twelve months on. He is defending an unbeaten record at Newcastle but would be just the second horse since the turn of the century to win the race back to back.

Buveur D’Air was the other, winning this race in 2017 and 2018 on the way to a pair of Champion Hurdle successes. Irving won the day in 2016, nosing out Apple’s Jade at 6/1 for Paul Nicholls, with Identity Thief stealing the 2015 renewal at the same price. under Bryan Cooper.


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